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									City of Edinburgh Council                              Item no
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Leader’s Report


City of Edinburgh Council
15 October 2009


1.    Edinburgh Tram Project

Operational Update

Progress on the Trams continues to be good. The project is on schedule to
be clear of Princes Street at the end of November as planned. We remain, as
always, mindful of the impact of these works on the people of Edinburgh, and
are doing all we can to minimise the short term disruption.

Tram route work has started at Carricknowe and Russell Road sites. Those
passing the Gogar Depot site will also be able to see the impressive steel
structures of the legs and bridge being set in place. Work at the Edinburgh
Park site is also progressing well.

The Paolozzi statues are due to be moved from the top of Leith Walk by the
end of November. They will go into safe storage until the next stage of works
is complete. Also making a welcome arrival is the promotional model of
Freddie Mercury moving into the Omni Centre at the end of October to herald
the new show at the Playhouse. Arrangements are in hand to ensure that this
can all be achieved smoothly during the tramworks.

Media Aspects

Last week, trams attracted coverage following a BBC interview provided by
Shirley Anne Somerville MSP. The interview sparked a high level of
discussion as the figures and timescale quoted were incorrect. Sadly, neither
the Council nor Edinburgh Trams were consulted by the MSP before the
interview went out. Rebutting the information took up a great deal of time.
We are necessarily being fiscally prudent about one of Scotland‟s largest ever
infrastructure projects. Irrespective of your views on trams, conducting
discussions through the media, without first having sought to establish
accurate information, particularly when there is an ongoing dispute with the
contractor, is unprofessional.

Festive arrangements – buses, taxis and cycles return to Princes Street
Plans for the City wide festive period celebrations are now well underway and
it is good to see all the relevant agencies working together in providing a co-
ordinated approach to the opening of the reinstated Princes Street, the
reintroduction of buses onto Princes Street and the biggest ever programme
of activities and events to attract shoppers into the City Centre.

We had looked at the possibility of keeping the road closed to traffic to have a
trial run of the area as an enhanced pedestrian space. The six weeks before
Christmas are, however, the busiest in the retail calendar, accounting for
around 30% of annual sales. After lengthy discussions with retailers and city
centre interests it has, therefore, been decided to explore that idea further
next year.

In my next update there will be more detail of what promises to be a really
spectacular celebration. The Council will also be reinstating our regular
updates of information about this, following the successful model used during
the festivals this last summer.

2.     Fighting for Edinburgh

Budget Bill risks Scotland‟s Economic Growth

The world‟s urban population has doubled over the last 30 years. For the first
time this year, more people in the world live in urban conurbations than live in
rural areas. Cities and city regions increasingly drive national economies.
Cities make a disproportionate contribution to national productivity growth,
employment and to wealth creation. They are the models of future
sustainability because they work to reduce carbon emissions per head by
exploiting economies of scale and proximity of community facilities.
According to experts, over the next 20 years, supercities will derive their
status, income and prestige from new economy income streams such as
biotech and stem cell innovation.

Cities are the cradles of innovation. Edinburgh is a great example of a city
eager to take advantage of its assets. 'The Festival City boasts world-leading
stem cell research, robotics and life sciences industries together with its
traditional strengths as the UK‟s second largest financial sector and as
Scotland‟s tourism gateway. Edinburgh is Scotland‟s economic powerhouse,
generating over £1billion in non-domestic rates for the rest of Scotland over
the past 12 years. As an economy, the city is the same size as Cyprus.

In the present economic climate, it is more important than ever that Scotland
invests in its key drivers of economic growth. Evidence demonstrates
that nations which prioritise cities emerge strongly from recessions.

Much could be achieved if the considerable resources of Scotland's national
agencies were brought to bear on the economic needs of the city regions that
draw investment from around the world. Foreign companies come here
because of the City Regions' talent pools, knowledge base, culture,
connectivity and quality of life. Business support, skills development and
international promotion of the city all have a part to play in creating prime
conditions for innovation and enterprise.

It is disappointing and concerning, both from a local and national perspective,
that the Scottish Government‟s Budget Bill provides Edinburgh with one of the
lowest increases in 2010/11 grant and one of the lowest levels of support per
head of population. This will constrain the extent to which Scotland can
develop its strengths and fulfil its potential in building a country that is
ambitious, prosperous and inclusive.

When Edinburgh does well, Scotland does well. In an increasingly
competitive global economic environment, we must invest in areas that
provide the best return from public investment to maximise our national
wealth. It is essential therefore that the Government prioritises Scotland‟s
core cities. During consideration of the Budget Bill, I would encourage
everyone interested in Scotland‟s national well-being to argue for a greater
emphasis on urban policy and for a better deal for Scotland‟s capital city.

3.       Modernising Pay dispute in Environmental Services

Members will appreciate that the situation is fluid. I shall therefore provide an
oral update at the Council Meeting. In the meantime, the situation can be
summarised as:

        Cleanliness in the city overall has been maintained at its highest ever
         level (CIMS score of 70) for the second quarter in succession.
         Cleanliness in the city centre has been improved to its highest ever
         score;
        At a meeting on 28th September, management provided further details
         regarding the proposed Neighbourhood Worker role for the street
         cleaning service. Following feedback from frontline staff, and as with
         with previous iterations of the post, a broad range of duties is
         proposed to ensure high standards of environmental maintenance are
         achieved. A new shift system has been specified which meets the
         Council's objectives of providing a street cleaning service from early
         morning through to mid- evening and with a night service for the city
         centre. These proposals are being discussed with staff; and
        Plans to modernise other services such as gardening and roads are
         also progressing through focus groups including staff, trade union
         representatives and managers.

4.       World Class Edinburgh

Edinburgh‟s Christmas

Edinburgh's Christmas will be launched in East Princes Street Gardens on 26
November with the opening of the Edinburgh Wheel, Traditional German
Christmas Market, Highland Village Market and the Winter Wonderland Ice
Rink. Radio Forth will be broadcasting live from Princes Street throughout the
day. The traditional lighting of the Christmas tree on The Mound will also take
place as part of the day of festivities.

Edinburgh‟s Winter Festivals go One Step Beyond

Edinburgh is gearing up for another year of fantastic Winter Festivals.
Madness will ensure that the Ross Bandstand is a real House of Fun in
headlining the centrepiece Hogmanay Street Party. Further announcements
on the hotly anticipated programme are still to come but the excitement
generated by Madness appearing is enough to promise another great year!

The rest of this year's Hogmanay programme is continuing to take shape. As
always we will kick things off on 29th December with the spectacular
Torchlight Procession from the High Street to Calton Hill. We have several
exciting events being planned for the 30th before the world famous Street
Party and Concert in the Gardens on Hogmanay itself. The event arena
for this year has been slightly reduced to accommodate bus diversions around
the east end of Princes Street and the consequent loss of the stage in South
St David's Street. We are pleased that we have been able to maintain all
ticket prices at the same level as last year, with a reduction in price for The
Keilidh (formerly the Ceilidh in the Gardens).

In addition, Off Kilter, the Expo funded dance spectacle specially
commissioned for Edinburgh's Hogmanay, will be running at the Festival
Theatre from the 29th December to 2nd January 2010.

Condé Nast Traveler Awards

Edinburgh has been named top Scottish city to visit by readers of Condé Nast
Traveler magazine (apologies for the American spelling!). With the awards
voted for by over 40,000 people, Scotland‟s capital was recognised for its
„beautiful architecture and fabulous culture‟. Edinburgh was also deemed
voters‟ second favourite city in the UK overall, closely pipped by London.

These awards are important for retaining jobs and attracting investment to our
city. More importantly, they don‟t just happen. Taking care of, and promoting,
this city is something that the Council, our staff, our partners and our
stakeholders take very seriously.

Whilst we cannot be complacent, the continual flow of awards suggests that
our customers feel we are getting something right. Awards which recognise
destination quality or general quality of life are a direct result of hard work
right across the Council and throughout our partner organisations.

World Monuments Fund

I am delighted that the influential World Monuments Fund, the leading non-
governmental conservation organisation, has put the five historic graveyards
maintained by the Council in the World Heritage Site onto its “Watch” list for
2010. Greyfriars, St Cuthbert‟s and Canongate Kirkyards, together with Old
and New Calton Burial Grounds, are set to benefit from this interest.

Some of Edinburgh‟s greatest historic monuments are in graveyards and
there is huge public interest in graveyards, locally, nationally and
internationally, both as records of our history and for those with a particular
interest in family history. Sadly, many old grave markers are now in need of
serious attention.

The Council has already been working in partnership with many different
groups and individuals on one-off conservation projects in the historic
graveyards. This is an opportunity to do much more. The application for
Watch status was made jointly between two Council departments and is also
supported by Edinburgh World Heritage, and a new Historic Graveyards
Trust, which includes key partners from all three of the churches, as well as
the former Greyfriars Kirkyard Trust. With our new partner, the World
Monuments Fund, we hope to attract outside funds to help us conserve our
heritage and add to the amenity of the cityscape for us all to enjoy.

5.        Making the Council Work for You and with You

Annual Performance Report 08/09: Statutory Performance Indicators

All Scottish councils are required by law to publish performance information,
measuring how effectively key services are being delivered. The Council has
identified 81 of the most useful measures of performance, and assessed the
progress made in improving services. The results show:

     a)    improvements in 60 or 74% of the indicators;
     b)    declines in performance is 19 or 23% of the indicators; and
     c)    no change in two or 2% of indicators.

Examples of how this results in better services for residents include:

         improved care home facilities and home care for older and disabled
          people;
         more timely collection of Council Tax and payments to businesses;
         faster processing of planning applications, council house sales and
          more effective management of the Council‟s houses;
         higher educational achievements by the children for whom the Council
          has parental responsibility;
         a more rapid response to noise complaints and abandoned vehicles;
         better maintenance of Edinburgh‟s roads, bridges and traffic lights;
         more effective support for the criminal justice system in dealing with
          probationers, court reports and community service orders; and
         a greater percentage of residents‟ waste being composted or recycled.

Comparative information about performance in relation to other councils will
be available later this month.
Guardian Public Service Awards 2009

The Right First Time Project in the South West Neighbourhood has
successfully been shortlisted for one of the Guardian Public Service Awards
for Frontline Engagement. This project is improving services to customers and
local communities by re-engineering processes in roads and street lighting to
be more responsive to customer needs. The winners will be announced at a
ceremony in London on 24 November.

BT Partnership Case Study / New Council Website

The Council was invited by the Director-General of Informatics for the
European Commission to present a best practice case study of our
partnership with BT and work in E-Government at the 10th Annual E-
Commission Symposium in Brussels. The case study highlighted our
successful programme with BT to standardise and consolidate ICT
infrastructure, driving real efficiency savings. The Symposium brings together
Directors and Heads of Unit from across the Commission and its various
agencies along with representatives from National Governments to discuss
future ICT strategy across the European public sector

I am pleased to note that following the approval by Council in June 2009 of
the Achieving Excellence - Customer Services programme, the contract and
implementation plan for the new Council website and intranet has been
concluded. The contract has been awarded to Jadu Ltd who are market
leaders in delivery of public sector websites having implemented sites recently
for Manchester, Derby, Rotherham and East Lothian amongst others.
Further updates on the implementation will be provided through the Smart
City & ICT Partnership Elected Member Sounding Board with the new website
launch anticipated in 2010.

6.     Promoting Democracy

The Edinburgh Lectures 2009/10 – Making Scotland

The 18th series of the Edinburgh Lectures launched on 1 October with a joint
lecture presented by the Council and Gude Cause, which was formed to
commemorate the 1909 suffrage procession in Edinburgh. A renactment of
the suffrage march is scheduled to take place on Saturday 10 October. The
procession will form on Bruntsfield Links and set off from there at 1:00pm. I
shall address the procession at the Mercat Cross at 1:45pm before
accompanying the march, along with other female councillors (past and
present) and parliamentarians, to the finish on the Calton Hill.

In a late change to the Lectures programme, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
gave the opening lecture, stepping in at short notice after the programmed
speaker, Helen Steven, was unfortunately taken ill. Further speakers in this
year‟s series include : Eric Booth, multi-talented artist and arts education
specialist; Hannah McGill, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film
Festival; Brian Taylor, the BBC‟s political editor; and John Byrne, artist and
dramatist. Full details of all lectures in the series can be found on the website
www.edinburghlectures.org.

Scottish Youth Parliament Elections

This year's Scottish Youth Parliament Elections in Edinburgh proved a
resounding success, with over 5000 young people taking the time to vote for
their preferred candidates. This was a marked increase on the previous
election in 2007 and demonstrates an encouraging recognition amongst
young people of the important contribution they have to make to our society.

The Council's Youngedinburgh Team managed the elections, which used
facebook, youtube, bebo, radio and posters to reach the electorate and to
encourage them to both stand as candidates and to vote. The actual process
of voting was made as easy as possible with ballot boxes placed in schools,
libraries, universities and colleges throughout the city. Special thanks must
also go to John Loughton, a former chair of the SYP and winner of Celebrity
Big Brother, whose endorsement of the campaign posters and radio advert
helped connect with young voters. Details of the successful candidates can be
found at: www.youngedinburgh.org.

7.       Providing a modern, effective transport network

Forth Replacement Crossing

The Administration has endorsed the Scottish Government's decision to
proceed with the procurement process for a new Forth Crossing. It is clearly
vital that the Government can ensure the continuity of this strategic link.

The current project does not significantly increase traffic capacity. Future
increases in cross-Forth commuting will therefore need to be addressed.
Public transport and car sharing would be strongly supported in principle by
the Administration, to maximise sustainability and minimise congestion and
environmental impacts.

We are working with West Lothian and Fife Councils, and SEStran to press
for an effective package of measures to encourage public transport and car-
share as an integral part of the proposals for the New Forth Crossing. We are
jointly seeking a meeting with Finance Secretary, John Swinney MSP, and
Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson MSP, with a view to securing a
commitment to, and necessary powers for, a package of measures including:

        Construction of new bus/rail based Park and Ride/Park and Choose
         sites;
        High quality, high speed, access to and from the existing bridge for
         buses, including extensive priority measures;
        Priority for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) on the bridge approaches;
        Use of Intelligent Transport Systems for bus and HOV priority;
     A high quality bus interchange for Queensferry at Echline, with good
      pedestrian and cycle access and car/cycle parking (potentially a full
      scale Park and Ride);
     Improvements to bus and rail services;
     Measures to ensure that walking and cycling networks on both sides of
      the Forth are fully integrated into the new Public Transport Corridor;
     Ferry / Hovercraft services, subject to positive further work; and
     Improved safety and accessibility for vulnerable communities north and
      south of the new crossing, including Queensferry, Inverkeithing and
      Newton.

High Speed Rail

Having personally met Lord Adonis, Secretary of State for Transport, to
strongly advance the case for High Speed Rail from Edinburgh and Scotland
to London, I am greatly encouraged at progress in recent weeks. Network
Rail has issued a report which proposes the construction of a new high speed
line from London to Scotland, including a route to the centre of Edinburgh.
This would allow travel between the capital cities in just over two hours, twice
every hour; plus high speed trains to other major cities in the south.

High Speed Rail research group Greengauge 21 has also launched their Fast
Forward study in which this Council was heavily involved, having accepted
Greengauge 21‟s invitation to be represented on their steering group. The
study sets out a 25 year strategy for developing a high speed rail network
across the UK. It recommends a network of mainly new railways operating at
up to 200mph, including two north-south lines from Edinburgh and Glasgow to
London and other cities in England. The potential benefit from this is reckoned
to be in the region of £20bn for Scotland.

The Council has, for some time, been pressing behind the scenes for just
such an initiative and it is gratifying to see it beginning to take shape.
Alongside the economic benefits, high speed rail provides an attractive
alternative to short-haul aviation and long-distance car use, so the
advantages in terms of national carbon emission reduction is considerable.

Expect more news on this front over the next few months. Obviously this
would be a massive national undertaking, but the Council will be doing what it
can to help make it happen.

Disabled Persons Parking Places (Scotland) Act

Holders of a Disabled Persons' blue badge will benefit from the Disabled
Persons‟ Parking Places (Scotland) Act, which came into force on 1 October.
This Act makes provision for all Blue Badge holders outwith the Controlled
Parking Zone to have a parking space near their home, which will be
enforceable, rather than the advisory spaces provided up until now. Blue
Badge Holders in the Controlled Parking Zone will continue to qualify for a
free exempt residents' permits allowing them to park free of charge in
residents' and shared use bays within their zone.
An implementation working group has been established and survey work
undertaken to ensure that Edinburgh complies with the new Act. Promoting,
monitoring and enforcing Orders for the disabled parking places does place a
considerable burden on local authorities, so we have asked the Transport
Minister to simplify the Traffic Regulation Order process for the new
disabled parking places.

8.     Development of the City and Regional economy

Edinburgh Sparkles

Edinburgh Sparkles highlights the quality events, festivals, retail, leisure,
nightlife and winter experience on offer in Edinburgh at this special time of
year. Devised by the city‟s „Open for Business‟ group, led by the Chamber of
Commerce and set up to promote the city during tram construction, in
conjunction with DEMA (Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance),
Edinburgh‟s Winter Festivals and Essential Edinburgh, Edinburgh Sparkles is
being promoted in local and national media in Scotland and the north of
England. It is encouraging to see such a collaboration coming together to
remind the rest of Scotland and our visitors from elsewhere that Edinburgh‟s
Christmas and winter experience is truly unique.

Sir Terry Farrell

Sir Terry Farrell, the internationally renowned architect, has stepped down as
Edinburgh‟s Design Champion. Over nearly six years, under two political
administrations, he has fulfilled the role of „critical friend‟.
Members will recall that, in his final address to the Council, Sir Terry
expressed gratitude for the unique opportunity he was given. He spoke of
what he had tried to achieve, highlighting difficulties that still exist but
acknowledging how the city is now focusing on place making as a way of
ensuring a sustainable future.
Sir Terry chose not to review existing projects in „beauty parades‟ but to focus
instead on mechanisms for providing a more proactive approach to planning
and the making of good places.
Sir Terry devoted much time to ensuring the tram system was as integrated
into the city as possible. His influence is evident in the resolution of issues in
St Andrew Square and Picardy Place. Whilst we may not have always agreed
on every detail, Sir Terry‟s influence has been beneficial in encouraging a
fresh look at the way in which we plan our city.
Sir Terry leaves with a clear and simple message to the city : “keep place
making core to your planning endeavours and ensure that the waterfront is
developed in the light of a clear and positive vision and coherent masterplan”.

Edinburgh Public Realm Strategy
Given Sir Terry‟s comments, it is timely that we are in the process of
developing a new Public Realm strategy.

Edinburgh is an outstanding capital city with a reputation for quality. The
distinctiveness of the built and natural environment is recognised by our city‟s
World Heritage Site status, and its position as a capital city means that its
performance affects the way Scotland performs and is perceived.

We are committed to providing a high quality, coordinated public realm which
enhances Edinburgh as an international destination for visitors, businesses
and residents. We have invested £22 million in public realm works in the last
10-15 years, and have an excellent track record in delivery. This can be seen
most recently through the highly commended scheme at St. Andrew Square
and the Grassmarket enhancements. However, many key areas have yet to
be improved.

The new draft Strategy builds on the principles set out in the Edinburgh City
Local Plan, the Local Transport Strategy, the Edinburgh Standards for Streets
and other Council initiatives relating to open space and street design. It sets
a strategic vision for the future of public realm in Edinburgh, focusing on
providing developers and practitioners with an understanding of the Council‟s
aspirations and vision for a consistent and high quality approach to public
realm. The Strategy considers, among other things, a palette of materials to
be used across the city, potential lighting and city dressing options,
highlighting the funding required for implementation.

Consultation on the strategy is now underway and runs until 19 October.

"Joined up for Success "

The Joined up for Jobs partnership will be holding their annual event on 27
October at Surgeon's Hall. With a keynote speech by Fiona Hyslop
MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, the event
will officially launch the partnership‟s Customer Charter and highlight
developments, innovations and achievements over the last year. These
include progress in implementing the cross-partner offer to Jobseekers and
Employers and the creation of the Future Jobs Fund that will provide 240
additional employment opportunities over the next 18 months for young
people in danger of becoming long term unemployed.

Joined up for Jobs is a partnership of the key employment focused agencies
in the city including the Council, the Capital City Partnership, Edinburgh
Chamber of Commerce, Edinburgh's Colleges, Jobcentre Plus, NHS Lothian
and Skills Development Scotland. The event provides an opportunity to bring
together policy makers and practitioners in the city to celebrate success,
strengthen organisational relationships and plan for the future.

Future Jobs Fund
Funding has been secured from the Department of Work and Pensions
(DWP) to create 80 Future Jobs Fund posts. The Council consortium bid with
Capital City Partnership had been submitted on behalf of the Jobs Strategy
Group. The JU4J (Joined up for Jobs) consortium, which includes Edinburgh
Chamber of Commerce, NHS Lothian and through EVOC, a number of
voluntary sector organisations, are pooling these job offers into an Edinburgh
programme, allowing those organisations with only one or few jobs to play
their part in assisting young people.

Economic Development‟s Employability & Skills team is working hard to get
the first 5 jobs starting this month, with the remaining opportunities being
spread through the following 5 months. We are also seeking to work with
SCVO and other agencies who have made successful bids covering
Edinburgh.

“Clipper” Round the World Yacht Race

Congratulations to everyone in the Council and DEMA for their terrific efforts
in securing the launch and sponsorship of the Edinburgh Inspiring Capital
yacht. The race, which comprises 35,000 miles of sailing, will take ten
months to complete.

Each yacht, including Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, will be crewed by people
from all walks of life including students, builders, housewives, management
consultants, estate agents, doctors, software engineers and chief executives,
all of whom will be demonstrating their inspirational qualities in their challenge
of a lifetime, racing across the world‟s oceans. The race also has a social
inclusion dimension with seven unemployed young people from across the
capital having been selected to take part in the race with each sailing one of
seven legs on board the Edinburgh Inspiring Capital yacht.

There is a serious economic development angle too. At the ports visited, there
will be targeted activity to ensure that Edinburgh‟s attractions as a place in
which to live, work, study and invest are promoted to as wide an audience as
possible. The shot of the Edinburgh yacht passing under the Forth Bridge with
its Saltire spinnaker proudly billowing is a powerful and iconic image. What is
more, a BBC journalist, Alison Harper, has joined the crew for the first leg to
Rio de Janeiro and is presenting regular interesting and entertaining reports
on the UK national news.

Alison reports “straight from the Atlantic, somewhere south of the Canaries
and north of the Equator. I've been broadcasting now for almost 2 weeks
from onboard EIC live into the BBC on TV, radio and online and it has made
for a series of interesting reports - from the race start, to the unexpected calm
seas of the Bay of Biscay, to our first visiting pod of dolphins and the Scottish
porridge for breakfast. The crew is diverse to say the least but are well
bonded through the ups and downs of sailing.”

“It is my first experience of ocean sailing and outside of training with Clipper
the first I've had of being onboard a yacht with 18 others unable to get off.
It's the same for Cassie, one of the capital crew who has thrown herself into
her role on board with the most gusto and enthusiasm I have ever seen.
When it comes to someone making the most of an opportunity, Cassie is a
fine example. If all the capital crew members approach the Clipper Race with
the same excitement, pride and willingness to learn, then Edinburgh will be
the most fortunate of the clipper fleet.”

“At the moment you may see we're in 9th place. Don‟t worry we're sneaking
up on everyone with some good tactics. We'll be in Rio soon.”

More information, including a graphic update on the progress of the race is
available at www.clipperroundtheworld.com/index.php/Home.

New Business Comment

Edinburgh‟s Chamber of Commerce, current holder of the UK Award for
Membership, continues to improve the service it offers the business
community. Following its „One Step ahead‟ initiative, designed to improve its
support to businesses during a recession, the Chamber has now re-launched
its magazine, Business Comment, with a new look and content. I was
particularly pleased to see the striking image of the Edinburgh Inspiring
Capital yacht, currently competing in the Clipper round the world series,
featured on the cover (see Appendix A). With its saltire spinnaker flying high,
under a headline „Time for Renewal - how Edinburgh‟s getting fresh wind in its
sails‟, the cover says a great deal about the Chamber‟s commitment to an
improved economic outlook for the city. To view Business Comment visit
http://www.edinburghchamber.co.uk/news/business_comment/BC_OctNov09.cfm

9.     Maximising opportunities and learning for our children

First Class Evening News captures Edinburgh‟s new Primary 1 Intake

The Evening News produced a First Class supplement containing a
photograph of more than 170 Primary One classes in Edinburgh schools
(state or private). With top quality production, and a half page devoted
to most classes, the supplement is a fantastic keepsake of childrens‟ first ever
school class. For those wishing a copy of the professional photograph of their
loved one‟s class, these can be ordered at a cost of £9 at
www.photogallery.scotsman.com or by calling 0131 620 8278. The Evening
News is generously donating £2 from every purchase to the respective
school. Congratulations to the Evening News on this initiative which I look
forward to being repeated in future years.

Consultation on School Closures

The consultation period for our school closure proposals finishes on 16
October. Over the past eight weeks, well-attended public meetings have
taken place across the city for the four primary schools proposed for closure
and the various intended receiving schools. A number of written comments
on the proposals have also been received. Over the coming weeks, officers
will consider all the points raised before bringing recommendations to
December‟s Council meeting for final decision.

Funding for James Gillespie's High School

 I welcome the Scottish Government‟s recognition of our case for additional
funding for school buildings. We will receive two-thirds of the funding required
to replace the existing James Gillespie's High School. The Council will
consider how its share of the funding can be addressed when developing its
next Budget. This is extremely positive news for the entire school community.
With work progressing to develop the designs for the new Portobello High
School, I am confident we can provide first class facilities for both schools.

I have also received very positive feedback on the progress with our final
three PPP2 schools, Forrester, St Augustine's and Tynecastle High Schools.
I look forward to visiting each of the schools when they open their doors to
pupils and staff early next year.

Nancy Ovens Award for Play 2009

The Nancy Ovens Awards for Play were presented by Adam Ingram MSP
Minister for Children and Early Years. Two projects supported by Services for
Communities were successful in gaining awards. The Barony Play Garden
project was commended for imaginative use of a back court area for play, and
the Corner Project at the Cramond Walled Garden was commended for young
people's participation in the design of a play area.

Towerbank - Edinburgh‟s first Fairtrade Primary School

Congratulations to Towerbank Primary School for becoming the first primary
school in the city to achieve Fairtrade status. The school has actively been
promoting Fairtrade since 2005 and last year set up a Fairtrade Group led by
Primary 6 and 7 pupils to try to achieve Fairtrade Status. The school has
integrated Fairtrade throughout the curriculum in many innovative ways: they
are in the early stages of becoming Global Partners with a school in Ghana
which is allowing the children to learn about the difference Fairtrade is making
to children in Ghana; a Fairtrade Tuck Stall is run by primary 7 pupils and
parents; the school participates in Fairtrade Fortnight each year; and the
pupils have even written their own 'Fairtrade rap'.

FACe electronic newsletter for parents and carers celebrates first birthday

FACe, the Council‟s electronic newsletter for parents and carers, designed to
keep them up to date with news on events and initiatives has celebrated its
first birthday. Since first published, almost 16,000 people have gone online to
read the magazine. Parents or carers are encouraged to subscribe to FACe
by visiting www.edinburgh.gov.uk/face and selecting „subscribe now‟.


10.   Caring for our most vulnerable
Work starts on Edinburgh‟s newest care home

Work on Edinburgh‟s newest care home started last month. The Kings Inch
Care Home is the fourth to be built by the Council in the past two years. With
60 places, the care home is due to open in spring 2011. Kings Inch will be
sub-divided into smaller group living units of 15 bedrooms, each with their
own sitting and dining areas. As requested by residents, bedrooms are of a
good size and each has an ensuite shower-room.

The provision of the new care home is part of Edinburgh‟s 'Live Well in Later
Life' strategy, which aims to provide a wide range of quality care and support,
to meet older people‟s needs both in their own homes and in carefully
designed homes. The new care home will be beneficial in providing a caring
and supportive service for older people so they can enjoy a better quality of
life. The building project also provides an opportunity for local employment
and support for business commerce through the local construction supply
chain.

First seven day a week day service for older people opens

The Canalside Centre, providing day care seven days a week, has opened.
The service is for older people and people with dementia in the south west of
the city. Run by Bield Housing Association Ltd, on behalf of and with funding
from the Council and British Waterways, the service caters for 22 people per
day at a spacious venue overlooking the canal at Wester Hailes.

At Canalside, older people with physical or mental health needs meet other
older people and take part in activities which help them to maintain their
independence and also give their carers a short break. The centre offers a
lively, welcoming atmosphere in their local community, while helping them
remain in the security of their own homes.

The new week long service further demonstrates the commitment of the
Council and its partners to improving older people‟s services in the Capital,
reducing isolation and helping older people to build on and develop contact
with people in their own community. Supporting older people for seven days a
week is an important step to meeting the needs of the growing older
population so they can live as independently as possible at home and to
achieving the objectives of Edinburgh‟s Live Well in Later Life strategy to meet
the needs of older people both in residential care and in their own homes.
Last year the Council pledged nearly £1m for additional day services for older
people in the city.

„See Me‟ photography exhibition

Last February, I signed the Council‟s pledge of support for the „See Me‟
campaign, to demonstrate our commitment to eliminating the stigma and
discrimination of mental ill-health. This autumn, I am delighted to report that
three of our libraries are hosting a very special „See Me‟ photography
exhibition as the national Mental Health Arts and Film Festival gets underway.

The exhibition is part of a Scotland-wide competition which encouraged
budding photographers to think about what mental health means to them, and
how they might portray this in a photograph. The mental health charity „See
Me‟ has organised the competition to challenge the stigma of mental illness
and inspire creativity through photography. The public are being invited to
vote for their favourite with winners going forward into the national final. The
exhibition can be seen at Oxgangs library from 1-7 October, at Wester Hailies
library from 8-14 October and at Fountainbridge library from 15-22 October.

Initiative to deal with mental health issues in multi storeys

Five thousand council house residents in Edinburgh‟s multi storey blocks are
to be issued with key fobs as part of a mental health awareness drive. The
fobs will show contact details for Breathing Space - a free and confidential
phone line service for anyone who is feeling low or depressed. The initiative
complements Mental Health Awareness Week, launched across Scotland on
5 October. The idea grew from the work of the Mental Health Awareness
Group (MHAG) formed to support residents in multi storey blocks, who can
experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, by promoting mental well
being.

Breathing Space forms part of the Scottish Government's 2009-2011 policy
and action plan 'Towards a Mentally Flourishing Scotland'. The Breathing
Space phone line is free, confidential and anonymous and trained advisers
are there to listen, offer advice or put people in touch with local organisations
that may be able to help. The phone line is open 24 hours at weekends (6pm
Friday – 6am Monday) and 6pm – 2am (Monday –Thursday) on 0800 83 85
87. For more information about Breathing Space, visit
www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk.

World Mental Health Day

The BBC‟s campaign urging the nation to smile its way to better mental
wellbeing is beaming all the way to Edinburgh to coincide with World Mental
Health Day on Saturday 10 October. This new campaign highlights the health
benefits of simple positive things we can all do every day and asks, „What
Makes You Smile?‟

Everyone is invited to come to the Big Screen at Festival Square between
11am and 4.30pm on 10 October for the BBC Headroom, „What Makes You
Smile?‟ event where there will be a host of activities and games to „make the
city grin‟. The campaign invites celebrities and members of the public to
share what makes them smile and encourages people to do something
everyday to make them smile, taking a simple step towards better mental
health.

11.    Providing Safe, Warm Homes
Affordable homes boost for the city

The Council has approved its single biggest affordable housing project to
date. 193 new build affordable homes for social rent and shared ownership
will be built by Dunedin Canmore Housing Association in Westfield
Edinburgh. £22.2m of public and private funding will be invested in the
development of this site. The public investment has been secured from the
Affordable Housing Investment Programme. A site start is planned for January
2010 and completion is anticipated within 2 years thereafter.

The project will assist in regenerating derelict land and provide a mix of house
types for affordable rent and low cost home ownership. It will make a
significant contribution to addressing housing need in the city. As well as
providing employment during the construction phase, the proposed
development includes small business units that will generate jobs and
employment in the area. Residents and businesses will be able
to take advantage of the existing public transport system and proposed tram
service thus reducing the reliance on car use.

21st Century Homes for Edinburgh – Gracemount

On 25 October 2009, the demolition of three multi-storey blocks in
Gracemount, Soutra, Fala and Garvald Courts will take place. These blocks
are being demolished to make way for the regeneration of this site which will
see up to 220 new modern homes for sale and rent being built in their place.

Outline planning approval for the masterplan for the new neighbourhood has
now been granted and work can now begin on the finer details of the design.
Extensive consultation and wide community engagement will continue over
the next few months, providing a well-designed and sustainable community,
truly reflective of the wider community aspirations. This redevelopment will
provide good quality affordable homes with a mixture of public and private
open space to meet the needs of today‟s communities.

Construction of these new homes will begin next year, kick starting a
programme of Council-led investment worth up to £150 million, aiming to build
1300 homes across Edinburgh. These homes will be the first Council homes
built in the city for a generation. This project is part of the 21st Century
Homes for Edinburgh programme. The redevelopment of North Sighthill,
Gracemount and Pennywell and Muirhouse will contribute towards Edinburgh
delivering 15,000 new affordable homes over the next ten years.

12.   A green, clean, attractive and environmentally sustainable city

Water of Leith Flood Prevention

The Council is progressing a phased construction programme for the Water of
Leith flood prevention scheme, which will enable areas most sensitive to
flooding to be addressed. Carrying out the works as an integral whole would
have offered better value for money and allowed the work to commence
earlier so the Government‟s recent decision not to make further funding
available at present is disappointing. As work progresses, we will, however,
continue to lobby the Government for support in meeting the cost of this
valuable scheme.

We are also bringing forward work to the Threipmuir and Harlaw reservoirs to
enhance stormwater storage facilities. This is scheduled over the winter, and
will build on the work already carried out on the Harperrig reservoir. It will
benefit everyone living along the whole length of the Water of Leith.

Green Apple Awards

Street Cleaning

Last month we reported that the Council had won a Green Apple Award for its
Reuse Cabins. We have also been successful in obtaining a Green Apple
Award for 2008/09 in the category of 'Environmental Improvement - Street
Cleaning‟. The Green Apple Awards are organised by The Green
Organisation, an independent environment group dedicated to recognising,
rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.
Edinburgh's award acknowledged the improvement in street cleanliness
standards since Edinburgh started using the Cleanliness Index
Monitoring System in 2000/01, with an initial score of 57, and improvements
each year to a score of 70 in 2008/09.

Woodlands Secondary School

The Woodlands Special School, based in the grounds of Currie High School,
and built to meet the special needs of children with Moderate Learning
Difficulties, has also been recognised in the Green Apple Awards
for Environmental Best Practice. The organisers were particularly impressed
with the way that the project:

a)      created an innovative space that really helped with Moderate Learning
Difficulties teaching;
b)      successfully resolved a challenging sloping site;
c)      enhanced Currie High School as a 'community hub'; and
d)      created a building with low environmental impact.
The Council will receive their award at a ceremony at the House of Commons
in London on 17 November.

Britain in Bloom Awards

Edinburgh has been awarded a Silver Gilt medal in the large city category in
the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom awards. Britain in
Bloom is the UK‟s biggest and longest-running community gardening
campaign and this year the judging focus covers three core areas:
horticultural achievement, environmental responsibility and community
participation. Edinburgh was honoured to be selected to represent Scotland
for the first time in 2009 in the large city category of this national competition.

The campaign was led by the Council in partnership with a wide variety of the
city‟s community groups along with a number of organisations including : the
Royal Botanic Garden; Historic Scotland; and Edinburgh University. Over the
year, a range of different activities were held which included : plant
giveaways; community workshops; children's events; and a gardening
competition in order to raise the profile of the campaign. In August, the
judges were taken on a tour of Edinburgh‟s horticultural highlights including :
Princes Street Gardens; Dr Neils Garden in Duddingston; Holyrood Park; and,
Calton Hill. They also visited a wide selection of community led projects
including: the Cowgate Nursery; Barony Street Community Garden; and
Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden.

The judges complimented the city on the horticultural standard and
specifically mentioned the Floral Clock in Princes Street Gardens and the
Royal Botanic Garden. They also praised the work of community groups
within the city's parks and noted the conservation and environmental works
that are being carried out.

Beechgrove Garden comes to Colinton

This year's Beechgrove Garden community garden project was filmed last
month at Colinton Primary School. WRAP (Waste & Resources Action
Programme) Scotland are contributing money and resources to work with the
BBC and the school to create a garden from scratch that will be a learning
environment for the children, and also somewhere to be used by the local
community, as well as linking with Healthier Scotland and other Scottish
Government programmes.

13.    Promoting Culture, Sport and Leisure

20th Scottish International Storytelling Festival

The Scottish Storytelling Centre will host the 20th Scottish International
Storytelling Festival on the theme of Homelands. Running from 23 October to
1 November, the festival will feature leading storytellers from the USA,
Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Caribbean who will join the best of
Scotland's storytellers to explore the themes of belonging, identity, migration
and exploration. Please visit www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk for further
details.

Doors Open Day

Doors Open Day celebrates Edinburgh‟s architecture, culture and heritage. It
has been organised by the Cockburn Association (Edinburgh's Civic
Trust) since 1991 and is part of European Heritage Days. This year‟s event
took place over the weekend of 26/27 September. The Council provided
access to the City Chambers and Waverley Court, our headquarters building.
Doors Open Day is a great showcase for the way in which we use our
buildings, both old and new, and it is very encouraging to see the level of
interest people have in coming for a look around.

I would like to thank all the staff who volunteered to make the event such a
great success. It is only because they make themselves available that we can
ensure safe, secure access and informed guidance for our visitors.

Be Full of Life - Get up and Go!

International Older People‟s Day took place on 1 October. To celebrate the
occasion, the Council, Edinburgh Leisure and the Pilmeny Development
Project hosted a special one day event at Meadowbank Sports Centre for the
over 50s.

The new Get up and Go brochure provides a wealth of information for
everyone in the older age group and highlights activities and opportunities
which will improve the general well-being of everyone - even the most frail.
The number of people aged over 50 is increasing significantly, with more
expected to live well into their 80s. Keeping fit and healthy is crucial to
enjoying this longevity and Get up and Go has an important role to play in this
process.

Ice Hockey‟s Homecoming Tournament – The Gardiner Cup

I reported last month that anticipation was building for the new Gardiner Cup
tournament, featuring elite international ice hockey teams at Murrayfield Ice
Rink. Hamilton Bulldogs triumphed, beating the Toronto Marlies 3-1 in an
exciting final. The Gardiner Cup is named after Charles (Chuck) Gardiner
who was born in Edinburgh, and made his name in the National Hockey
League with the Chicago Blackhawks between 1927-1934. Chuck was the
first Scotsman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Cup was presented to the Hamilton Bulldogs by Chuck Gardiner's
nephew Ted Poulter, and his wife Edna Poulter. The tournament concluded
with a presentation to the city of a specially commissioned print by Michael
Andlaur, Co-owner of the Montreal Canadiens and Bulldogs.

14.   John Sturt – The Council Secretary retires

John Sturt, Council Secretary, will clerk his final Council Meeting before
retiring later this month. John has been with the Council for 20 years having
previously worked his way through a variety of London Boroughs and Falkirk
and Stirling District Councils. Rumour has it that John gravitated towards
Edinburgh to be sure of being close to a good pint of Deuchars!

Keeping a room full of politicians in order and umpiring raucous, heated or
lengthy debates is not a job for the fainthearted. After thirteen years in his
current role, John has certainly earned the right to put up his feet. However,
given his penchant for hill-walking, Munro-bagging and scuba-diving, I am not
convinced that he intends to spend his new found leisure in a sedentary
manner. I am sure that colleagues will join with me in wishing John a long
and happy retirement.


                                   Councillor Jenny Dawe
                                   Leader – The City of Edinburgh Council

								
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